Wagon Wednesday Shootout

Wagon Comparo

This Wagon Wednesday, we decided to try something a little different. We rounded up three great wagons that are currently for sale and while we could just feature each one separately, we thought it might be more interesting to do a comparison. It will be a little different than our normal comparisons though, as each wagons is a different take on the concept and each comes from a different time periods and country. Let’s start this comparison by introducing our competitors. First up, we have a 1963 Ford Falcon Deluxe 78 B Wagon, which is being offered here on eBay without a reserve. The next is a 1970 Saab 95 Station Wagon with room to seat 7 and can be found here on eBay. Last, but not least we have a 1976 Jensen Healey GT that was just pulled from a garage and is now also listed here on eBay.

Ford Falcon 78B

Since the Ford is the oldest and the rarest in our comparo, we felt it deserved our attention first. The Falcon 78 B was intended to be used as a delivery vehicle and was typically stripped down to just the essentials. However, this one was one of the few to be optioned with the Deluxe package, which added more trim work and creature comforts. Being a two door delivery vehicle means it isn’t your typical wagon though. The point of a wagon is to be practical and while this one is likely the easiest to load stuff in and out of the back, it lacks a back seat for the kids. That might be a plus for some, but a negative for us simply as a matter of real world practicality. The big cargo area could come in handy for hauling parts or go karts, so that could counter the lack of a back seat some. This car also loses points for condition, as it has rust issues and lacks an interior. The rarity could be a mark against it as well, but we think this time it’s a major plus. How many of these can there be left? And since it is based on the normal Falcon, finding parts shouldn’t be an issue.

Saab 95 Wagon

Now to what could be the most practical wagon of the bunch, the Saab. The fact that it’s a Saab guarantees that it’s going to be practical. With enough seats for the whole family and the neighbors, you can’t get much better than that. Saab built the 95 for almost 20 years, so finding parts here in the states should be nearly as easy as finding parts for the Falcon and its relative simplicity should make repairs easy. This particular car has seen a lot of use, but has been well cared for. The odometer reads just 26k, but we are sure it has rolled over at least once. Of this bunch, this is the only one that is ready to be used, but we would count on there being a few issues that will need attention right away. It has been on the market for a while though. Thanks Peter C for tipping us off to this one!

Jensen GT

Our last contender could be the least practical of the three, but could also prove to be the most fun to drive. Some might say that the Jensen GT isn’t a true wagon, but is instead a shooting brake. Sure it can’t haul as much as the Saab or Ford, but it looks like a wagon to us. Plus it’s powered by a twin cam Lotus engine. That might not be a plus if it needs a complete rebuild, which it might given that it was left in storage for 25 years. Once it’s running and driving it would likely be the most entertaining, even with the kids in the back. Let’s just hope the previous owner kept all the parts with it or things could get expensive. So how do we pick a winner from this pack? Well, we aren’t going to! We are going to leave it up to you guys to pick out the winner, so let us know which one wins it for you!

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Comments

  1. Jim-Bob

    The Falcon is a bit of a shame as it seems too far gone to restore or even make something interesting from (which would be my choice). The floor is not the scary part. No, it’s the roof that does it in as it seems that almost none of the support structure around the top is left intact and in some spots it looks to be missing 10 inch long sections. I can only imagine how badly corroded the rest of the box sections are.

    Like 1
  2. Dolphin Member

    Wagons are a terrific focus. We have owned many wagons over the decades, and we still have one now as a DD. IMHO wagons are the most practical and useful vehicle for general use.

    Like 1
  3. Go Cart Mozart

    I love the Ford Sedan Delivery, but it needs so much metalwork. It would be sweet done right but its really a shell.

  4. Don Andreina

    Falcon. We got these in XK and XL form, but interestingly, the upper side rear panel on ours was form pressed with a little bit of trim and FORD lettering near the front doors. Looks like the ones on yours are replacements perhaps.

    • Jim-Bob

      There are actually quite a few differences between US and Australian early Falcons. For one, Ford discovered that the US Falcon chassis was not up to the task of dealing with Australian road conditions. So, much like what the USSR did with the Fiat 124, they had to strengthen and upgrade the chassis and suspension to deal with it (I believe they also used the Australian modifications to Falcons sold in South America too.). I suspect that there are other minor cosmetic revisions at play too but I also think this particular Falcon has been lightly “restored” at some time in it’s past. It’s missing some trim parts that would normally be there on a US spec model and it looks like there are patches in the quarters that are coming undone. At any rate, there is so much metal work that needs doing on this poor car that it would be thousands of dollars cheaper to just start with a better shell to begin with.

  5. jim s

    the saab wins this contest as falcon s/w does needs a back seat and the jensen is not a s/w but you already noted that. if you search ebay under s/w a lot of real nice drivers come up.

    • jim s

      so unless your in love with the falcon or jensen it would be hard to invest the money/time needed to get them back on the road. and the saab reserve is not met .

  6. Rees K

    I like the rarity of the “Flinstones” option installed on the Falcon. It’s hard to find a good example of those foot-drive models with a good sized hole…

  7. steve

    There’s also an odd 1967 Sunbeam Arrow Wagon on Ebay too, Haven’t seen one of these in a very long time.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Other-Makes-Sunbeam-Arrow-Wagon-1967-Sunbeam-Arrow-Wagon-/111282914285?forcerrptr=true&hash=item19e8fa83ed&item=111282914285&pt

    • Bobinott

      Wow, nice wagon too! Thanks for spotting it.

      It sure looks like the Sunbeam designers used to drink with the Cortina designers over at Ford-Dagenham.

  8. Barry Thomas

    Quick call Graham Lloyd as he seems to be the Falcon/Frontenac collector. And no reserve!

    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  9. Graham Lloyd

    Wow is that Falcon ever rough. I have a 60 Frontenac 2 door wagon (deluxe version) that is slated for restoration. It’s rough, but not that rough. The only reason I am restoring it is because it’s a Frontenac. And one of two known to exist out of approximately 700 built. Maybe 25 to 50 were Deluxe versions. If it was a Falcon, then no way.

    Sedan deliveries are not so rare that a much better example can be found. And there’s no way to accertain it is a Deluxe version other than the chrome trim, which could have been added at any time.

    Bidding’s around a grand right now. As high as it should go, in my humble opinion. But, if someone is going to restore it, I have a nice used tailgate as well as a pair of NOS doors he can use. He’ll need them.

    • Barry Thomas

      I thought that Falcon would get a rise out of you.

      Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

    • Dolphin Member

      Graham,
      The Frontenac was the Canadian version of the Falcon if I remember correctly. I never saw a wagon version on the road, which I guess is consistent with only 700 being made and the salty winter roads. I hope the grille is with your car because IIRC it’s very different on the Canadian car compared to the US one.

      • Graham Lloyd

        Dolphin: We got the Frontenac for the Mercury dealers who didn’t get the Comet for 1960. There was a prototype 61 Frontenac, but it was ash canned when the decision to market the Comet in Canada was made. Falcons were made and sold in Canada though the Ford dealers.

        Yes I do have the grill. In fact, I have 3 of them, plus probably 6 sets of the maple leaf hubcaps.

        Regarding Jim-Bob’s comments about the chassis, the aussies found that the lower control arms were not up to the task. There must have been problems here as well because the lower control arms were changed for 1961 to a beefier setup. They will interchange with the early arms, but are pretty weak.

      • Don Andreina

        Graham, does your Frontenac have clean upper sides or form pressed? Actually now I write this I’m thinking its glass, but I’ll still ask.

      • Graham Lloyd

        Don: I’m not too sure what you’re asking about. If it is about sedan delivery “paneling”, what I have is a wagon. Glass. And there was no such animal as a Frontenac sedan delivery.

      • Don Andreina

        Thanks Graham. You’re right, a deluxe Frontenac sedan delivery van doesn’t really make sense. Cheers and good luck with the resto.

    • Brian Weatherman

      Graham …. Did I hear you have NOS early Falcon doors? also looking for a RF fender and the front gravel shield, Thanks -Brian Weatherman -San Mateo, CA

      • Graham Lloyd

        Brian: Yes I do. And I have an NOS gravel shield and I think an NOS rf fender. I have an NOS fender, but not sure which side.

        Josh. Can you pass on Brian my email address and he can contact me directly?

  10. Bryan Cohn

    Funny, I am friends with the owner of the Sunbeam Arrow Wagon, we were at a race at MAM near Omaha when he bought it from someone in the area. Picked it up and drove it to the track on Saturday. I’d never seen one before, it was quite the interesting piece.

    Buy with confidence, he’s a top shelf person.

    Now on to today’s 3 wagon’s…..
    Falcon is cool and has the most potential but the amount of rust is troubling. It was either stored in a very salty location, spent time under water or sat in a high humidity area for a long time. How do you get that much surface rust that high up the firewall? The starter solenoid is rusty, when does that happen? So many questions…

    Saab is a drive but it seems the asking is pretty high. It must be the slowest thing ever fully loaded with 7 people!

    The Jensen is the coolest by far but oh man, it could be a gem or the biggest headache you ever had. I love the shoot brake look and I think there have tiny rear seats for your kids, so it works as a weekend get away or fun car for taking the kids to school. Make life easy, remove and sell the Lotus engine/trans, drop in a 3.8 Buick supercharged v6 and a T5 trans. There is a kit to mount the GM v6 into these cars, but why not go big with the 3.8 from the Bonneville SSE instead of the lame 2.8 from a S10 pick up? Now that would be a shooting brake sleeper!

  11. Robert J

    As the owner of a Jensen Healey, I have to say that getting and keeping them running is really not a big deal. There is a complete running JH in the bay area for $300 on Craigslist. You can call Delta Motorsports for any brake parts. The little Lotus engines benefit greatly from a fuel injection (Megasquirt) upgrade and they are hot little race engines that will perform better than any other similar car of the era.

    I love the falcon wagon, but is definitely too far gone to bother with.

  12. curt w

    my first choice is the Jensen for sure, i’ve been fasinated by these goodlooking vehicles for some time, second would be the Falcon, it would make an awesome early 60’s “race team support vehicle”

  13. DT

    Saab…”Yes,That’s right,only 26,692 miles” …Yeah RIGHT!!

    • paul

      Love the long roofs…..,Yep DT I see that as well, maybe 126,692 judging by the worn peddles & everything else dirty, worn, etc.

  14. Amicus

    Jensen GT at current bid (2G) if included trailer (doesn’t) might be worth a look but after 25 yrs agree will need engine rebuild (does it even turn?) which as it is a Lotus are priced accordingly. Gearboxes were 5 spd so if something else another question. That said is one of about 473 built so if you get it on the road you will likely be the only one at all but Jensen get togethers but you really need to see one to decide if shape is for you. Like a Jensen Healey (same car without roof) is an acquired taste but Lotus engine sounds great. Just accept that after buying and getting on the road you will be lucky to get the first nickel you spend out of it let alone the last one.

  15. Han Kamp

    My choice would be the Jensen GT, little gems, also called baby Interceptors for their more luxurious interior, better sound proofing, elec. windows,and aircon. Also these are becoming very rare! As a former owner of both the JH and GT (plus other Jensens….) I know that these cars respond very well to simple regular maintenance. The Lotus 907 engine is not as fragile as you V8 aficionados might think :-) and parts availability is plentiful. The high revving Lotus engine really is what makes the JH and GT special. 7250 Rpm. no problem! I have driven both cars all over Europe, to the Le Mans Classic, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, UK etc. rallied them, raced them on track days too without any problem. They are very economical too, which is important to us Europeans….. Unleaded 95 is Euro 1,70 a litre here (about $2.15). Dave Bean and Delta Motorsports are well known parts suppliers.

  16. Dustin

    That Saab looks pretty handy but that Jensen Healy is awesome!

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